While International travel is still out of question due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Union Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that India is negotiating with 13 countries including Australia, Japan and Singapore to establish bilateral air bubble arrangements for international flight operations.
What Is A Bilateral Air Bubble Or A Travel Bubble?
A travel bubble or a bilateral air bubble is a travel corridor between two countries that wish to reopen their borders or re-establish connections with each other, especially amid the pandemic.
Under the air bubble pact, airlines of countries can operate international flights to each others’ countries with certain restrictions. Since July 2020, India has established such travel bubbles with the U.S, the UK, France, Germany, the UAE, Qatar and Maldives.
Hardeep Singh Puri took to Twitter and said that air bubbles have also been proposed with our neighbours Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Bhutan. He also said negotiations are underway to establish travel bubbles with 13 foreign countries.
These countries include Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea & Thailand.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 18, 2020
The ongoing negotiations will benefit stranded Indians & nationals of these countries.
But, Pakistan is not on the list of the five neighbouring countries. The Union Aviation Minister said that further, India will consider such bilateral arrangements with countries other than the ones mentioned above and promised that every stranded Indian will be rescued under the Vande Bharat Mission. The latest air bubble with India was a flight with Canada that rescued Indians from the country on August 15.
Domestic flights also were suspended in the country for over two months owing to the coronavirus pandemic and the flights resumed on May 25.
The aviation sector has been severely impacted due to the travel restrictions imposed in India and foreign countries in view of the coronavirus pandemic.